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Why didn’t anyone tell me it would be this hard?
This is one of the most common questions I hear in my work with women transitioning into the role of new mother. While not all women struggle during the early months after delivery, preparing yourself for the realities of new motherhood can be of great benefit to you, your partner and your baby. Most of the information available to expectant mothers is focused on the physical aspects of pregnancy and delivery as well as the practical aspects of caring for a newborn. While this information is essential for any new parent to know, there are several other important factors that can determine the kind of postpartum experience you will have. Neglecting the emotional aspects of new motherhood can lead to a difficult adjustment after birth and even symptoms of postpartum depression.
Here are some tips on what you can do now to ensure a healthy and happy postpartum experience:
1. Understanding your past will allow you to make mindful and authentic decisions about the kind of mother you want to be.
2. Pay attention to your feelings about the pregnancy and the impending birth and share them with someone you trust.
3. Ensuring that you have a sufficient amount of support and nurturance during the postpartum period can reduce the risk of feeling overwhelmed and depleted.
4. Spend some time thinking about how you would feel if things turned out differently than you expected. Being open to all possibilities will allow you to more easily adjust and adapt when necessary.
5. Holding in mind that each woman has her own unique experience of motherhood, and that a multitude of feelings can surface during the postpartum period will make it easier for you to seek help when necessary.
6. Taking time now to reflect on the magnitude of having a baby and all that it entails will lead to increased feelings of self-confidence and a more joyful postpartum experience.